Guilty plea over child porn

When Phillip Burns was confronted by Department of Internal Affairs officials about accessing child pornography, he was unrepentant.

"It's there, it's easy to get into. Type, click it, bang; anything you want it's there. What am I meant to do?" the 72-year-old retiree said.

Burns appeared before the Dunedin District Court this morning charged with seven counts of possessing an objectionable publication.

They were distilled into one representative charge and he pleaded guilty.

The court heard forensic analysis of Burns' computer showed he had been accessing child pornography since 2012 and just days after he had been caught, he began searching again.

When interviewed he said he was not a risk of sexually abusing children himself.

The defendant showed no empathy for the victims depicted in the illicit material and said they were "probably from Russia".

In December 2015, Burns uploaded five images to his email through a Google account.

Six days later, he uploaded four more.

They amounted to seven unique pictures showing children between the ages of four and 10 in horrific situations.

The worst showed a four or five-year-old being violated.

Burns' search triggered an alert at the United States' National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which contacted the DIA in New Zealand.

When the department seized the man's computer and other devices, he simply set up another Google account and continued searching, the court heard.

Burns would use search terms such as "nude pre-teen girls" to access the depraved images, prosecutor Catherine Ure said.

When the defendant was interviewed in May 2016, he admitted the offending and signed each photo he had uploaded.

He told interviewers he did not save any pictures, only browsed them, and he vowed that he had no desire to communicate with anyone else about his proclivities or share the files.
Burns was remanded on bail until March for sentencing.

Home detention would be considered, Judge Michael Turner said.

Defence counsel Anne Stevens asked her client's bail condition barring him from using internet-capable devices be varied so he could contact her.

The judge swiftly rejected that.

"This man shows an appalling lack of insight . . . thinking if [the victims] are on the other side of the world he's not causing any harm to them," he said. 

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